Game Day Preview…Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams, right, gives the ball to fellow running back Le'Veon Bell during an NFL football organized team activity in Pittsburgh. Williams is expected to start the first three games of the season, as Bell serves a suspension. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams, right, gives the ball to fellow running back Le’Veon Bell during an NFL football organized team activity in Pittsburgh. Williams is expected to start the first two games of the season, as Bell serves a suspension. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic/File)

The Steelers open up their 2015 campaign having won the AFC North last year and promptly losing to the hated Ravens in the opening round of the post season. Their reward? A Thursday night opener at the defending champion New England Patriots, fresh off of Tom Brady having his suspension lifted.

The black and gold come into the season with many questions on defense and some serious talent on offense. They’ll be tested very early in the season with LeVeon Bell out for two weeks, Martavis Bryant out for four and Maurkice Pouncey out at least eight. The offense will need to shoulder the load and a lot of that falls on their unquestioned leader, Big Ben. Will they have what it takes on Thursday night?

Here are the Keys to A Steelers Victory:

  1. The offense will have to score 30 points, maybe more. The defense appears to be the weak link, specifically the secondary. With Tom Brady playing and fresh off of winning his appeal, the Patriots will be primed to show the world they are still the best. The offense is going to need to score on almost every possession.
  2. Not only will they need to score a ton of points but the offense must control the clock. Again, with the defense being weak, the idea is to keep the ball away from the Patriots. A ball controlling offense is the key to keeping Brady off the field.
  3. The defense will need to create a turnover or two. It sounds cliché but with the anticipation that this will be a high scoring game, the defense must come up with the ball at least once to help provide the offense with a boost.
  4. Special teams need to deliver. In these games, special teams can either win it or lose it for you. The special teams need to make solid tackles, pin the ball on punts and of course hit their field goals. If not, it could be a long night.

Here are a Few Things to Watch:

  1. DeAngelo Williams-He’s going to get the bulk of the carries and we’ll get a good look at what kind of a fill in he’s going to be for LeVeon Bell. He’s got to get at least 75 yards on the ground. He won’t be a threat out of the backfield to catch balls but perhaps Dri Archer can show something, unlike last year.
  2. Shamarko Thomas-Thomas takes his shot at replacing an all time legend in Troy Polamalu. He’s looked pretty bad in pre season and in his first few years in the league, he’ll need to grow up fast because Tom Brady is coming.
  3. Big Ben-The captain and best player on the team will need to show why he’s one of the best QB’s in the league. It’s on him to make all the big plays.
  4. The discipline-Last year the black and gold lacked discipline, it cost them several yards and even games. Will they keep their heads in the game this go round?
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at mike@steelnationassociation.com.

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